Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Plant is an upright, smooth annual or perennial. Preferred habitat is at roadsides, prairies and edge of woodlands. Plants have evolved to withstand the most severe climate conditions. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are opposite on the stem, consisting of one whole part but divided into segments; each segment divided again (bipinnate). Individual segments are linear or lance-like.
Flowers are open and in a somewhat flat-topped cluster of heads that are symmetrical in shape. Disc flowers are bisexual; red; ray flowers are female, numerous and yellow in color with a red spot at the base; three lobed at the tip. Flowers occur in the spring and early summer.
Fruit is a seed which outer layer is fused to it (achene).
These plants are a western variety that escaped to the east and found a perfect home on the Coastal Plain; easily cultivated but just as easy to escape again. Because of its showiness and ability to tolerate harsh land and weather conditions it is being used extensively in wildflower plots along Florida and Alabama highways. The related C. linifolia has four lobes at the tip of each flower petal.